Game #79 – Navigating the complexities of a chess ending

The complexities of a chess ending

The emotions associated with the complexities of a chess ending

Chess is a game of strategy that requires players to think ahead and anticipate their opponent’s moves. The endgame phase of chess, where few pieces remain on the board, is often thought to be simpler than the opening and middle game. However, the reality is that the endgame can be just as complex, if not more so, than the earlier stages of the game.

One of the main reasons for this complexity is the limited number of pieces on the board. While the middle game can have up to thirty-two pieces, the endgame usually has far fewer. This limited number of pieces makes each move more critical, as there are fewer opportunities to gain material or control of the board.

Additionally, the endgame often involves the king, which is typically a passive piece during the earlier stages of the game. In the endgame, the king must be protected at all costs, and any mistakes can lead to a quick loss. The king’s limited mobility can also create unique situations where stalemate is a real possibility.

The complexities of the endgame are further compounded by the wide variety of endgame scenarios that can arise. Each endgame is unique and requires a different approach, depending on the number and type of pieces remaining on the board. For example, an endgame with a bishop and knight versus a lone king requires a specific strategy to force a checkmate, whereas an endgame with two rooks versus a king is entirely different.

In this game, played on, I had what what looked like a drawn ending but it turned into a very sharp, tactical struggle. Black sacrificed his knight to push his queenside pawns toward promotion, and I had to carefully calculate how to stop him.

Game #79 - Navigating the complexities of a chess ending

Post-game thoughts

This game reminded me that playing chess is more than just understanding. There is an emotional and psychological element that should not be underestimated. Players need to focus their attention on the position and not let their nerves get the better of them. For me, this happened a couple of times in this game.

The first as the unexpected Nc4 – a move I see now but didn’t during the game. The second was the rollercoaster of emotions I felt when I thought I was lost, only to find that I had a very narrow defense that I was able to find in the nick of time. Kudos to my opponent for finding some great ideas and helping me bring my chess to the next level.

In conclusion, emotions play a vital role in the game of chess. While chess is often thought of as a game of pure intellect, the reality is that our emotions can have a significant impact on our decision-making and overall performance. Emotions such as fear, anxiety, and overconfidence can lead to mistakes and missed opportunities on the board, while emotions like calmness, focus, and determination can help us make better decisions and achieve success. As such, understanding and managing our emotions is an essential part of becoming a skilled chess player. By learning to control our emotions and channel them in productive ways, we can improve our game and enjoy the full benefits that chess has to offer.

Please share how emotions have affected your game play in the comments section below. Also, if you have any annotated games you would like to share that highlight bad decision-making while under emotional stress, please share them as well.

Note: Please send any games to You can use standard PGN format or send them in Chessbase (.cbh) format, whichever is easier.